Balancing Freedom and Restraint in Yoga
By Ray Long
The work of legendary furniture designers Charles and Ray Eames has been described as a balance of freedom and restraint.Mr. Eames was once asked: “Have you ever been forced to accept compromises?” He responded: “I don’t remember ever being forced to accept compromises, but I have willingly accepted constraints.”1 Practicing yoga also involves working within constraints–those of the general form of the human body and also our personal limitations. Yoga balances freedom and restraint.
Knowledge of the body shows us where to expand and where to restrict movement. It also allows us to design a practice to fit our individual needs. That’s why working with a modified version of a particular pose is not a compromise—it’s accepting constraints. I don’t abandon a beneficial asana simply because it’s difficult. Rather, I use awareness of my limitations as a guide for determining how to work in the pose.
For example, if I’m working towards Lotus Pose, I apply biomechanics and physiological reflex arcs to gain freedom of movement in the hips while at the same time using the muscular stabilizers and my hands to ensure congruency of the knee as a hinge. This is an example of balancing freedom with restraint. Since we also benefit from preparing the body for a pose, the journey itself becomes the reward.
Always, in your particular case, consult your health care provider before practicing yoga or any other exercise program. Always practice yoga
under the direct supervision of a qualified instructor. See full disclaimer here.
Author; Ray Long
Here is a selection of some of the other articles posted here by Ray Long:
- Using the TFL to Refine Utthita Parsvakonasana March 23, 2013 By Ray Long Author; Ray Long View Profile Visit Ray’s Website http://www.dailybandha.com http://www.bandhayoga.com Share this:FacebookTwitterGoogle
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- Preventing Yoga Injuries vs Preventing Yoga, Part III: Joint Mobility, Stability and Proprioception January 19, 2014 By Ray Long A central concept in all healing arts is that of correcting imbalances within the body. The principle of re-establishing balance can be found across all cultures from Navajo sand paintings, Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine to modern allopathy. And anything with true healing power also has the capacity to cause injury when ...